By: Gary Graff
Musicians around the world are reacting with surprise and grief about Sunday's (April 7) death of Andy Johns, a legendary producer and engineer who worked on classic albums by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen and scores of others.
Queen's Brian May called Johns, who was 61, a "great recording producer. Lovely guy -- patient, skilled, funny, encouraging, sharp...all the qualities you want in someone who is getting your music on tape."
Peter Frampton tweeted that Johns "has left us way too soon," while Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith noted that Johns "made some of my favorite all-time records." Former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath member Glenn Hughes added that Johns was "Larger than life-You are loved Andy."
Fellow producer and engineer Eddie Kramer, who gave Johns his start at Olympia Studios in London as a tape operator on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Axis Bold As Love" album, said that, "I am deeply shocked to hear of the passing of a dear friend and fellow producer /engineer who had fantastic ears and was a member of a special club of guys who were raised and taught the 'right way' by the best British engineers. The records he made were some of the greatest in Rock and Roll."
Johns was the younger brother of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer/engineer Glyn Johns and put his stamp on the Stones' "Sitcky Fingers," "Exile On Main Street," "Goats Head Soup" and "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," as well as "Led Zeppelin II" through "Physical Graffiti" and then 1982's "Coda."
Steve Miller worked with Johns on his last two Steve Miller Band albums -- 2010's "Bingo!" and 2011's "Let Your Hair Down" -- and told us what made Johns so good in the studio:
"Doing guitar overdubs with Andy is so much fun. You never want it to end. You just want to do guitar overdubs all the time...It was like back in the early, early days when we were making records in England...He's the monster man for all the Led Zeppelin records and the Stones and stuff. He's just a great engineer and a really good co-producer to work with."
Johns had two sons who also went into music: singer-songwriter Will Johns has released a pair of albums, including 2012's "Hooks and Lines;" while Evan Johns played drums in the band Hurt.
Exact details of John's death and funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
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